Update: Houston ISD spokesman Jason Spencer says "it's not unusual for a district in the first week of school, for the enrollemnt to be significantly below the projected enrollment for mid-October when we report the final numbers to the state." He agreed that the comparison of first day numbers was valid, however.
Houston ISD is down 1,771 kids compared to the number of students enrolled on the first day last year -- and right now is 20,554 students under the number the district projected for the 2011-2012 school year.
The news was delivered in an e-mail Superintendent Terry Grier sent out today and includes his expectation that the number will rise "as students continue to come back to school this week."
Since any school district builds its budget and staffing in part on the number of students it expects to have, some readjustments (teachers?) might lay ahead if the numbers don't come up.
Grier's explanation for the loss of the 1,771:
The decline of approximately 1,700 students in enrollment can be attributed to several factors. Over the summer two HISD charter schools became State charters and took approximately 500 students with them. Two other charter schools have very low enrollments compared to this time last year:
Texas Connections Academy is down 809 students Young Learners is down about 350 students.
Texas Connections Academy is a virtual on-line school that primarily serves home school students. As you may recall, there was real questions about whether the state would continue to fund the program and the funding issue was resolved very late in the session. Young Learners is a Pre-K in district charter and we are working to find out why their numbers are so low. It may be a records reporting issue and we will keep you updated.
The enrollment decline information comes a day after the Examiner Newspapers broke the story that Mary Nesbitt, last year's HISD volunteer of the year, has taken her two fifth-grade daughters out of HISD and has enrolled them in a private school.
This Thursday, at the board's early morning workshop, the trustees will review a committee report on the district's magnet school policies -- always something that draws a crowd.